My, what big pawls you have
Building on the success of this year’s Vision road wheels, FSA has re-launched their mountain bike wheel line with one alloy and two carbon fibre cross-country/trail models. All three feature asymmetric rim profiles and tubeless readiness, while two even come built with durable brass nipples. In both materials, the rims share a sensible-for-XC 23/25mm width.
The Afterburner, SL-K, and K-Force wheels are built around a shared hub architecture. The company’s threaded-clamp Preload Reduction Assembly helps to protect the bearings from clamping loads, reducing drag and play while prolonging life. Six super-deep pawls are staggered in two sets of three for 54 points of engagement (roughly seven degrees apart) with the 28t ratchet ring.
At the K-Force end of the line, a red hub signals ceramic bearings and nipples of aluminium. Weight for the 29er version is an impressive 1,464g- the 27.5 knocks 50g off of that figure.
The SL-K brings carbon fibre a bit closer many riders’ fiscal reality and wouldn’t be a surprise if seen spec’d on complete bikes. Brass nipples and more pedestrian bearings bring the weight up a smidge – 36g – to 1,450g for a 27.5 pair.
What word rhymes with “aluminium” and signals authenticity? We’ll ponder that- but in the meantime, the Afterburner wheels get the SL-K’s hubs, more cost-effective round spokes, and a pair of aluminium rims. The asymmetric cross section remains, keeping tension consistent from side-to-side, and both 27.5 and 29er models are quoted at a respectable 1,590g. Wheel pricing had not yet been announced- but all three are said to be competitive within their categories.
Remember MegaTooth? It turns out that a narrow/wide design is more effective than the previous ‘just plain big’ incarnation- so FSA is joining the rest of the market with alternating-profile drop-resistant ‘rings. That means that the odd numbers do go away- but we’re likely to survive.